The Problem with Plastic

So, eco freaks have been trying to tell everybody about the problems with plastic pollution for awhile now and before moving back to the High Desert I was admittedly a bit slow on the subject. In my city life, plastic was a way of life. Oh, sure, I’ve always been a bit thrifty and hated waste, but moving out here to the ranch, where there is no curbside recycling has taught me a few things about plastic.

It’s ugly. It lasts forever. It’s toxic. Did I mention that it’s ugly?

Let’s get real, okay? Plastic pollution is a serious problem. We’re not talking a little mess here, we’re talking mountains of waste, we’re talking more ugly than has any right to exist. And the price tag on this ugly?? The cost to our planet, our Mama Earth, is pretty steep. And we sold out cheap- a twinkie here, a bread bag there, a trip to the market.

 

According to various sources around the web:

  • There are an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags consumed worldwide each year.
  • That comes out to over one million per minute.
  • Billions end up as litter each year.
  • According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year and,
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags a year.
  • Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags that they mistake for food.

  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade. This means when in the sun, they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways as well as entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest the bits.
  • It also means that when the bags end up in the Land Fills, buried with other garbage and hidden from the sunlight, they don’t degrade.
  • According to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation, plastic bags are among the top 12 garbage items most often found in coastal cleanups.

 

Here in Thorne’s World we: Continue reading

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A Taste of Summer Magick

Mmmm… I love all the flavors and scents of summer, don’t you? Here in the arid desert, just watering my rosemary, mint or creosote in the garden is a heady experience. And for this witch, the scent and flavor of lemons fairly screams summer.  I love lemonade and lemon water.  This summer I’m drinking gallons of Lemon & Cucumber Fresca. The cucumber adds an extra level of refreshment to lemonade that is nothing short of amazing.

So let’s start with this refreshing beverage recipe and then go from there. Of course, how many lemons and cucumbers you use will vary based on your personal preferences, But I start with: 4 large lemons and 1- 2 cucumbers to a  half gallon of water. (We have the most delicious well water here in the desert.  Just the right touch of minerals for taste and a healthy Ph.)  I wash the lemons and cucumbers in a mild solution of GSE just in case they’re not as organic as they claim, not to mention the road dust and various yuk that can coat even the nicest natural produce during transportation. I juice the lemons by hand, mostly because I just love using this vintage ceramic juicer.  The cukes go into the little Ninja. I’m not a huge fan of the bitterness that too much peel sometimes adds, so I usually peel the cucumbers, or half peel them if I’m wanting the tiny bits of dark green peel to look cool in the Fresca. Add your favorite sweetener to taste (I use stevia). And if you’re feeling frisky, garnish with a sprig of mint from the garden.

But why stop at lemonade? There are so many magickal uses for lemon! (And besides, citrus peel is a bitch to compost, am I right?)  I’ve purchased various dried citrus peel from a number of reputable herb vendors, but it’s nothing like drying the peel yourself for magickal potency and scent.  I prefer to dry slowly and naturally, but that’s not always possible, especially when there’s this much to dry.  If you’re only drying one or two lemons, by all means slice up the peel (after removing the inner membrane) and spread them out on some parchment (or a paper bag) and cover them with cheesecloth.  I don’t like to dry my plant matter in the sun, as it loses an awful lot of the essential oils to evaporation that way, but do what works for you.  This go round I decided to use my electric dehydrator.  (Electric Dehydrator Witchy tip: rotate your trays hourly to dry everything slowly and evenly and avoid over-browning.) When I saw all those waning crescent shapes circling one tray, I just had to fill another tray waxing crescents, then I started cutting full moons…

Of course as I saw the shapes, I began having glimpses of some of the witchcrafting I’ll be doing with these wonderful dried lemon peels. According to Cunningham’s Magickal Herbal, Lemon is of Water, the Moon and is, of course, feminine in nature.  Do you feel that?  I do, so deeply. Continue reading

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Resin Incense Magical Correspondences

Benzoin

Resins are plant and tree saps that either bleed naturally from their organic sources forming beads or tears, or are extracted in some way and come in peas.  There are a lot of commercial and practical uses of resins, ranging from glues to varnishes, perfumery to food additives, but I’m not going to concern myself with those applications today.  As is usual here in Thornesworld, we’ll be talking about magick.

Resin is incense in its most pure and natural form. Resin incense has been used for thousands of years and is still used today in religious ceremonies around the world and across many cultures. They’re also just wonderful anytime for the delicious and pure scents they release as they melt/burn. Resin smoke is fragrant, pure and very intense so only a small amount is needed – even a small bag will go farther than you think.  

Some resins are harder to find than others and can be very expensive. It’s also sometimes difficult to be sure one is actually getting what one is paying for, so you may not find all resins available in my shop.  Until I’m sure, I just don’t buy.  I try really hard to source my resins ethically and make sure to know the province of my resins. It’s just good magick, y’all. 

When burning resins you will need a heat resistant container, preferably with a heavy layer of sand in the bottom, and charcoal tablets to burn the granules over. Some of the chunks may be more than you wish to burn all at once. Try a small piece at a time and add more as needed.  The resins may be crushed using a mortar and pestle, or chopped with a sharp knife or shaved with a razor into smaller pieces or even pulverized into a fine powder for easy measurement. Be aware that powder will burn faster and produce more smoke, quickly.

You can experiment with making your own loose incense blends, adding resins to crushed herbs, aromatic woods and essential oils, (I’ll cover that in another post), or just enjoy pure resin for its particular magickal purposes and scent.

I’ve put together a few magical correspondences for you.  They are partly from various sources like Cunningham and Wylundt, much from my own experience and magical use of these resins along with a sprinkling of random folklore.  I wondered a bit about adding the gender info, because really the gender of these resins (like so many wonderful things and creatures) tend to be somewhat fluid, depending on the the way they’re being employed, and the purpose to which they are being used. So do feel free to either utilize, change or ignore the gender correspondences. Continue reading

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Composting in Thornesworld

Pretty every four years or so. Gone in 8 hours.

We had one of our rare snows this winter in February.  They happen about once every four years or so and the snow doesn’t usually stick for long.  This time we had a fun 6 inches or so, but it only lasted about 8 hours.  Which is actually perfect for me.

This week I managed to get out in the garden a bit. I Loooove my garden. It’s really slow goin’ this year. The nights are still chilly here in the desert, and I’m super busy with all the magickal and art crafting as well as finishing up the drywall in my new bedroom! My neighbor, bless him, is starting my seeds for me this year.  He has a full greenhouse with all the nifty lights and the space!  So he’s starting my 100 or so Anaheim Chile seeds, and 6 each of 5 tomato varieties, both heirloom and stable hybrid. Everything else will be direct seeded on April or May, depending on the weather.  I’ve got a lot of new herbs to put in, along with my usual cukes and squash and peas and melons.  But right now I need to get a layer of composted mulch down on my asparagus beds, and that brings me to today’s topic. Compost!

You know I loves me some magical transformation of trash into treasure- art, all that’s green is gold in Thorne’s World, don’tcha know.  I can’t help but share a little Green Goodness today. Compost. Black gold, (we don’t need no stinkin’ oil!) baybee!

There are about a million different ways to make compost, it seems. If you Google it you may soon be overwhelmed by the variety of opinions and the types of composters; barrels and bins and cages; above or below ground. To turn or not to turn? To add newspaper? To layer or not to layer? Continue reading

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Vernal Equinox – Beginnings and Renewal

The first day of spring, the Vernal or Spring Equinox, occurs between March 20th and 21st here in the northern hemisphere.  This year it’s today, March 20, (at 2:58 PM, here where I live).

Many pagans and Wiccans celebrate it as Ostara, so named for Oestre, a Germanic Goddess of Spring.  Other Deities associated with spring include Asase Yaa of the Ashanti, the Roman Cybele and Norse Freya.  In Japan, people remember their ancestors for Higan (Higan-e or Ohigan), while the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in accordance with the Persian astronomical calendar.

Here in Thorne’s World, it’s not so much of a religious celebration as it is a celebration of everything Spring!  The first buds are appearing on the trees, the first blossoms that foretell summer’s fruits, and even in the desert there are tiny wildflowers everywhere. The cottontails and jackrabbits are peeking out of their warm winter dens and feeling frisky as they nibble on early greens and chase their future mates in playful flirtation. (You know, they’re “mad as a March hare”.)

Here in California we’re celebrating the first time in seven years that our water tables have filled up.  The end of a seven year drought is just one more reason to celebrate this year. The rain this year has also provided us with a state wide super bloom of poppies and other native flowers blooming with wild abandon, and our Painted Lady Butterfly migration is a sight for sore eyes, if a messy spectacle of windshield washing for California commuters.

As a pagan household, we often choose to celebrate our holidays in conjunction with the official federal holiday, which of course are in accordance with the majority religion in this country of Christianity. We also have an open choice policy with the grandgirls, as I did raising my own daughter, and we allow and encourage exploration of other religions and spiritual paths, so they’ll soon be enjoying Easter and all of it’s pagan symbols with their Christian Nana. As we celebrate our nature rites and the turning of the Wheel of the Year,  we teach my grandgirls the pagan origins of most of the rites and symbols, such as the fertility of rabbits and eggs and the sweets offered as part of the sacrificial observances and the rebirth of the God form across many cultures that historically predate Christianity as well as being currently celebrated in numerous world religions.

We like to do a little crafting as part of our celebration, so this year we’ll be making paper mâché eggs filled with birdseed to hang with colored ribbons from the trees, as offerings both to the spirits and the wild, flowers shall adorn the altar and seeds shall be sown indoors to await warmer soils, as we welcome spring.

It’s a good time for that Spring Cleaning and cleansing you’ve been putting off. Clean and decorate your altar and your home before you head out to the garden! And it’s a really good time of year to do love spells, to do spells to increase or strengthen love and friendships, to make love and work fertility magick if you want to have a baby, to do prosperity and money magick, (why not start a Prosperity Witches’ Bottle?  Instructions here) or really just anything you wish to increase or multiply. It’s a Full Moon tonight, and a Super Moon, at that, so that beautiful pregnant moon will only add its power to your desires.

How do you mark the Spring Equinox? I’d love to hear about your traditions and celebrations.

 

 

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Tarot Tuesday- Dark Moon Edition

Will you walk under the starred velvet sky tonight, dazzled by the bright diamond cut outs revealed by the darkness bereft of moonlight?

I got a new tarot deck last week.  It’s stunning. Inspired and inspiring.  Magick.

It came in the mail on Friday and I spent the weekend sleeping with it on my headboard  and familiarizing myself with its very unique vibe. I saved its inaugural draw for you.  For Dark Moon.

It’s the ShadowLight Tarot, by Eric Tecce and you can find it on instagram, @shadowlighttarot, should you find yourself as drawn to it as I was and am. (This isn’t an advertisement or promotion, per se; I occasionally share products and services of which I’m particularly enamored.  This is one of those.)

While shuffling the 10 of cups jumped out or the deck and landed in my lap.  I set it aside to consider whether it was relevant or not (slippery new decks make for a lot of these sorts of oracular presentations, so it may or may not be relevant-  that’s for the reader to determine).

The draw is The Tower, in all of its wild destructive glory. To gaze upon it is to feel the earth tremble beneath your feet while the wind howls around you and lightning strikes its refraction into your eyes. Will you fall?  Will you topple from the top of the tower that no longer serves you to land beside the ruins?  Or do you stand beside your tower knowing its time has come, braving the storm and ready to renew yourself and rebuild with new and better tools?

Either way, The Tower speaks of the collapse of important aspects of your life.  It may be occurring on any plane, finances and career, love or friendship, the terrors of the world… But during this Dark Moon, when we turn within to greet our shadow, my heart tells me these are interior crashes for many of you.  Illusions you’ve held, even nurtured about yourself or others have been brought into the cold light of the stars and revealed to you.  Truths you’ve ignored or hidden suddenly shine brightly.

However it comes to you, it feels like the end of the world.  You fear it’s more than you can take, just that one thing too much.

It’s not.  We survive these catastrophic collapses with intuition and fortitude.  Now is the time to look carefully at what brought about this collapse.  Often it’s not of our own making in the whole, but if we seek intuitively we can find the part we have played and see the necessity of the destruction. And through this insight we can see where and how to heal, to rebuild.

And here.  The 10 of Cups did come to offer comfort in this difficult time.  To remind that we are grateful for our learning, our lessons. Of wholeness and fulfillment. That the work pays off.  That brighter days are coming as a direct result of the storms we weather.

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Thorne’s Natural Bug Repellent

I hate poisons and pesticides, and it’s that time of year here in Thornesworld. Bugs, bugs and more bugs. You might remember that here in my desert home we have some big, scary bugs like scorpions and of course spiders like the Desert Recluse that bit me when I was sifting my wood chip pile from hell, but today I want to talk a little about your run of the mill, garden variety bugs and the hated flies, mosquitos and ants.

As I think I’ve told you all before, I live in a house that was built sometime in the mid to late 1800’s. Do I need to say that the places for bugs to get in are countless? And although covered porches rawk in the desert, helping to keep the house a little bit cooler, they also suck since they seem to be very happy places for insects to live. I’m constantly chasing the black widows and wolf spiders off of my porches (although my black widows are perfectly polite ladies, those wolf spiders sometimes chase me!), but the big issues for me are the flies. I hate them. I could spend all day swatting and still not make a dent, although I admit I have a blast with the zapper type swatters. I feel like the the legendary taylor “Seven at a blow!”

So I decided to do something about these bugs that are bugging me. I made a couple of completely organic pest repellants. I guess they are natural pesticides, but I think for the most part they drive the bugs away as opposed to killing them. I made one for our bodies and one for the garden. They are both working really well!

For the body recipe:

Equal parts Water and Witch Hazel (4-8 oz ea depending on the strength and quantity you need)

15-30 drops each of the following essential oils:

lavender

rosemary

clove (1/2 the amount of the other oils)

cinnamon (1/2 the amount of the other oils)

As soon as my Calendula (Pot Marigolds) bloom, I’m going make a water based infusion for this blend. Calendula flowers are a treat for the skin. Don’t get this in your eyes, it will sting like the dickens! (I also sometimes just make a Rosemary infused oil for the base instead of using the rosemary essential oil.  As you can see in the photo above, I have plenty of rosemary!)

This recipe can also be made as a salve, with a little beeswax and oil (I use virgin coconut oil, but olive oil or the carrier oil of your choice will work, too).  Or even handier than salves, are little Bug Off Body Bars, that you can easily mold like these little skulls I made from an ice cube tray, that you can rub right on and spread around.  I’ll be posting instructions on salve and bar making soon, as well as offering these in the shop, for those of you who have neither time nor inclination to make them yourself, so please check back often.

For the garden I made an insecticidal soap

32 oz spray bottle 4/5 full of water

1/2 oz of green soap (or dishwashing liquid)

40 drops rosemary

40 drops clove bud

100 drops cinnamon

100 drops pennyroyal

It works! I’ve rescued my strawberries from whatever was eating them! Stay tuned, o’ constant reader; I’ll be back with herbal salve making directions soon! In fact, I’m on my way to the kitchen to blend a batch of Thorne’s Balm (good for every prick, large or small! Hee hee!)

Peace, out!

 

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First Dibs Friday – Moon Phase Bath Salts & Sweet Blessings

This week’s First Dibs Offer is for my ritually crafted and blended, Full Moon and Dark Moon Bath Salts.  4 ounces of skin softening, scented magick for your bath.  Luxuriate in my blend of 3 Solar dried Pacific Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt and Epsom Salts.  As always they ritually crafted and are composed of 9 herbs and oils, each chosen to honor and vibrate with the Full Moon or Dark Moon energy.  They do have a couple of herbs in common, being both of the moon, but then they diverge in light and shadow.  You will find the Full Moon scent a bit sweeter and lighter than that of the Dark Moon blend, which while still sweet, carries the musky undertones of the dark.

If you’ve made it this far, stay with me a moment longer.  I have a page and a group, over on Facebook.  My page is, of course, Thornesworld. My group, is Thornesworld First Dibs Group.  The group is just what it sounds like.  I offer weekly (usually) hand crafted magickal items there at a small discount or with free US shipping, before I list them in my shops.  So members get First Dibs.

Each 4 ounce bag comes to my first dibs friends for only $7 with free US shipping, or choose one of each for only $13.

But here’s the deal.  It’s only available through my First Dibs Facebook group.  So if you want in on this deal, head over to my Facebook Page,  Thornesworld, and give me a “LIKE”.  Then, either click on the “Visit Group” button, or go to Thornesworld First Dibs Group and join.  You’ll find this offer near the top of the feed.  Thanks!

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Tarot Tuesday – Health & Balance

Today’s pull is from one of my favorite decks when I’m feeling like tapping into archetypal energies for some deep truths.  This is the Motherpeace Tarot by Vicky Noble and its theme is A way to the Goddess through myth, art and tarot.  It’s really a fun deck with bright colors, archetypal imagery, and the round shape of the cards.

Our card is the Priestess (Queen in traditional decks) of Discs (pentacles). Since she came out pointing almost perfectly upright, we know that her message for us is clear and pretty straightforward.

See how this queen sits, so at ease and in perfect balance with her world?  She eats well of the food she has grown and gathered and feeds her children both from her own body and from the body of the mother.  She works when it’s time to work, rests when it’s time to rest and plays in the play times, as well.

These days we hear a lot about practicing self care, but the Priestess of Discs knows that all of these are acts of self care and together create a balanced and healthy life.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our job, for instance, that when it’s time for play or rest, the job seems to seep into them, disturbing our rest and interrupting our play.  Or we allow stressed out to become a state of being, coloring everything we do.  Or we hurry from one task to the next and forget to eat or drink until our body screams for sustenance and energy then we grab anything, even if it’s garbage that our bodies don’t really need.

Slow down. Pay attention to your body’s needs. Leave your job at the office, or your desktop or work table. Bring your full mind and spirit to your rest and your play. Pay attention to your thoughts. Be in the moment you’re in.

So this week your focus is balance and harmony between your various activities.  Work, movement, rest, nourishment, meditation, dreaming and play.  Don’t forget to play!  If you can really tap into what this sort of balance feels like it will become second nature to you and you will find yourself less stressed  and moving in harmony with your world.

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First Dibs Friday – Moon Phase Incense

This week’s First Dibs Offer is for my ritually crafted and blended, Full and Dark Moon Loose Incense.  Half an ounce each of these luscious blends.  As always they are composed of 9 herbs, resins and oils, each chosen to honor and vibrate with the Full or Dark moon energy.  They do have a couple of herbs in common, being both of the moon, but then they diverge in light and shadow.  You will find the Full Moon scent a bit sweeter and lighter than that of the Dark Moon blend, which while still sweet, carries the musky undertones of the dark.

If you’ve made it this far, stay with me a moment longer.  I have a page and a group, over on Facebook.  My page is, of course, Thornesworld. My group, is Thornesworld First Dibs Group.  The group is just what it sounds like.  I offer weekly (usually) hand crafted magickal items there at a small discount or with free US shipping, before I list them in my shops.  So members get First Dibs.

So, half ounce each for only $13, with free US shipping.

But here’s the deal.  It’s only available through my First Dibs Facebook group.  So if you want in on this deal, head over to my Facebook Page,  Thornesworld, and give me a “LIKE”.  Then, either click on the “Visit Group” button, or go to Thornesworld First Dibs Group and join.  You’ll find this offer near the top of the feed.  Thanks!

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